A child's play encourages character development and supports ethical behavior. David Elkind explains in his book, Child Development 11 that "character can be defined as the disposition to make socially responsible choices." As children are playing with others they have the choice to be honest or dishonest, compassionate or insensitive but these are not inborn in children- the right choice has to be taught and modeled.
So many wonderful things are happening when children are playing- problem solving, learning to get along and consider other's points of view, conflict resolution, decision making and perspective taking skills just to name a few. These life skills must be developed to become responsible adults and it starts on the playground.
By asking children to help establish rules in our classrooms, we are helping them build ethical behavior. For example; one rule may be to be respectful of others. Isn't that a rule for life? But we are learning it even in our preschool classrooms. Another rule might be to use nice manners like saying, "please" and "thank you". Wouldn't it be lovely if everyone followed this rule? This begins in the halls of our programs where we set expectations to live by.
So please know how important our play is and that we are learning important skills every step along the journey.